Vital Football

Latest Colchester United News

Preview: Wednesday Recognition Quest

Preview: Wednesday Recognition Quest

Preview: Wednesday`s Regeneration Quest

"Hi, ho, Sheffield Wednesday,
Anywhere you go, well baby,
I see my sun shining,
I won`t make a fuss - though it`s obvious"


Supporters` song, to the tune of Jeff Beck`s 'Hi, Ho, Sliver Lining.`

Sheffield's history characterises British football`s seesaw on a slideshow to long-term regeneration

Amid the gauntlet of Colchester United`s hectic fixture schedule, as this week promises a gruelling three Championship ties in the space of just six days, comes tonight`s away clash against 13th placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Such congestion will land a hefty charge, and on at least two counts. One physically (affecting those playing) and the other financially, incurred by fans when surreptitious subtractions, performed by the ticket office, befall back-pockets everywhere.

Assuming football`s knockout-hit leaves you punch-drunk and besotted enough to make a mid-week trip from Essex, up toward the M1 and across the A 36, you will be hurtling toward a spot on our Isles that perhaps unwittingly characterises a cathartic balance of both past and present within life`s modern culture.

This union produces an almost indelible image, practically branded onto the consciousness of anyone who has followed the winding path of Pele`s Beautiful Game for any length. But I am not referring here to the contrast between Sheffield`s now defunct steel works, still embellishing the rolling Yorkshire countryside, and pubic fascination with fleeting pop-sensation Artic Monkeys.

Scenery forming the backdrop behind this game, instead, comes courtesy of 1989`s events on the Hillsborough terraces, where the deaths of 96 people, due to a crushing at Wednesday`s ground, caused the club to become synonymous with one of the most tragically defining moments in English football.

Ironically, of course, it happened during a game contested by Liverpool and Nottingham Forest; two strictly non-Yorkshire based sides.

The point is that, sadly, the club still bares the legacy of that crushing in the Leppings Lane enclosure, the end at which up to 3,700 of Colchester`s faithful will occupy during tonight`s match.

Hillsborough is a ground that has yielded so much good fortune for those from the flats lands of East Anglia in recent times - the last time United lost to Wednesday was before the disaster, in 1980. The teams have met in a further four fixtures since.

A fresher event, however, is shaping the second part of a common perception, which shows Wednesday as a team are forced to sit in the long shadows of their own elongated history: The elevation of neighbours Sheffield United to the Premiership.

To understand the ire that the Wednesday half of the City currently feels, you only have to recall the not-so distant past when the blue-half of Manchester City watched open-mouthed, from the old Division One, as United`s red-half perfored a routine collection of every medal going, during the Premiership silverware sweepstake in the 1990s.

Not that Wednesday exactly endured their worst footballing spell during the Hillsborough era, as an incident that sent people flooding back to the cricket pitches of Sheffield.

Their bleakest days were endured in the 1970s, when, following a bribe scandal involving some members of the squad, on-field play had suffered enough to case relegation to the old Third Division.

One fan was so crest-fallen that he emigrated, saying: "I`ve torn up my rosette in disgust, burnt my scarf and given my rattle away - there`s nothing to keep me here."

Nor are folk enduring it now, under manager Brian Laws. The former Scunthorpe boss, appointed in the wake of a four-nil hammering at Colchester's Layer Road earlier this season, has engineered a spot of relative release, even if this fixture will act as just another microscopic slice on Wednesday`s slideshow to regeneration.

Newfound optimism buoys a club that has had also to endure a top-flight relegation (2000/2001), and who carry an such an obsession with the past, that it sometimes sees them stop enjoying the game. That said, the Owls have won three league titles, three FA Cups, but their League Cup triumph is their only major trophy since World War II.

Wednesday did reach both domestic cup finals in 1993, but lightening struck twice - they were snuck by Arsenal, 2-1, each time.

Since then, the club has been demoted from the Premiership, and fallen still further; down another spiralling rung of the League ladder - into League One - in 2003 (before bouncing hurriedly back by 2005).

This season, however, Wednesday have been linked with an ex-Laws player, Billy Sharpe, whose 25 goals for Scunthorpe have seen them set League One alight, where they are currently top.

Sheffield Wednesday also recently harboured audacious dreams of a play-off position of their own; until current from took hold, producing only one win in six.

Dare it be said, then, as tonight`s opposition proved by their resurgence under Laws, (after appearing as dead-certain relegation candidates) that the Championship division is made for mini-sagas?

It allows football`s success-failure conundrum, played out under the stadium lights over a 46-game marathon, to reverse, alter and change, all in the space just one season.

Look at Sunderland`s rise this season, as the most convenient example. Six months ago, before Roy Keane brought some stability, the Black Cats were perilously second from bottom, but have now come galloping at the sunset stage. At this final hurdle, Sunderland are the people`s favourite, as a dark horse, to seize the crown.

Mark you - with those in Sheffield, and Colchester, claiming that the 7:45 kick-off is there for the winning - this evening`s match will probably end in a draw.


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Matt_Us
Date:Tuesday March 13 2007
Time: 11:43AM

Login to post a comment

Best of Vital Network

Vital Boxing - Adams Turns Professional

Recent Colchester United Articles

More Reliable Than A League 2 Octopus? (20/1/17)

A new season and finally a new special computer crunching the numbers to determine the final League Two positions for 2016/17.

League Two Gets Late Final Day Kick Off

Yesterday the Football League confirmed that the final day fixtures for all League Two clubs in 2016/17 would kick off at 5.30pm.

Riley Explains Postponements

It doesn't happen often in the Premier League or Championship thesedays, but League's 1 & 2 still suffer the odd postponement owing to the weather and Mike Riley...

All Time Leading Goalscorers - 51 To 74 (12/1/17)

With Manchester United's Wayne Rooney equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's goal return of 249 in the weekend's FA Cup third round tie against Reading, here's a list...

Archived Vital Colchester Articles

Vital Colchester articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Colchester
Write For Vital Colchester
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Colchester v Rochdale
Suggested By:
Colchester win45%
Rochdale win44%
Draw11%

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Doncaster 27 18 4 5 58 21
2 Plymouth 26 17 3 6 54 15
3 Carlisle 27 12 12 3 48 11
4 Portsmouth 26 13 6 7 45 14
5 Wycombe 26 12 7 7 43 6
6 Luton 26 11 9 6 42 13
7 Colchester 27 11 7 9 40 7
8 Barnet 27 10 10 7 40 0
9 Exeter 26 12 3 11 39 12
10 Cambridge 26 11 6 9 39 7
11 Grimsby 27 11 6 10 39 4
12 Mansfield 27 9 10 8 37 -1
13 Blackpool 26 9 9 8 36 11
14 Crawley 25 10 5 10 35 -7
15 Stevenage 27 10 3 14 33 -6
16 Yeovil 26 8 8 10 32 -3
17 Morecambe 25 9 4 12 31 -11
18 Hartlepool 27 7 9 11 30 -9
19 Crewe 27 6 10 11 28 -13
20 Accrington 26 6 8 12 26 -11
21 Leyton Orient 26 7 4 15 25 -11
22 Cheltenham 26 5 9 12 24 -11
23 Notts County 27 6 5 16 23 -22
24 Newport 26 4 7 15 19 -16
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Colchester United Results (view all)

Colchester United Fixtures (view all)

Feb 4 2017 3:00PM : Blackpool (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Feb 7 2017 7:45PM : Wycombe Wanderers (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Feb 11 2017 3:00PM : Barnet (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Feb 14 2017 7:45PM : Crawley Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Feb 18 2017 3:00PM : Accrington Stanley (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Feb 25 2017 3:00PM : Hartlepool United (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Vital Football Comment